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Apply to be the 2017 NESA Eagle Scout Paleoanthropologist

The National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) has a rich history of placing worthy Eagles on expeditions. These unique experiences provide an entry into the world of exploration. NESA and the BSA's STEM Initiative have selected Eagle Scouts to participate in paleoanthropological field experiments in South Africa for the past 2 years. This program has been highly successful and will be offered again this year.

We are very pleased to offer an opportunity to join Distinguished Eagle Scout and world renowned paleoanthropologist Dr. Lee Berger in South Africa to participate in his tremendous recent findings of multiple early human remains. This site about 40 km outside of Johannesburg resides within a game reserve. First reported in late 2013, the site has yielded a treasure trove of over 1700 fossils from at least a dozen individuals, making this one of the most exciting finds in paleoanthropological history because of the number, quality, and completeness of the fossils. The nearly 2 million year old fossil trove is mostly undisturbed and represents a new early human species. The development of this cave site is highly supported by National Geographic.

The two Eagle Scouts selected will fly to Johannesburg, South Africa, to rendezvous with Dr. Berger's team headed by Dr. Marina Elliott in the world famous paleontological laboratories of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. There, the scout will learn state of the art technologies being applied to the study of ancient human fossils and gain hands-on experience working with some of the rarest and most important fossil remains on the planet. He will also have the opportunity to live and work in the field in a pristine wilderness area at the famous Malapa site, discovering ancient archeological and paleontological remains, while working side by side with world renowned scientists and technicians. The Eagle will also experience the African bush and have opportunities to come close to Africa's majestic wildlife. The Eagles selected will need to love the outdoors, be in good physical shape to climb in the caves, be outgoing and adventurous, and be able to adapt to new cultures and experiences.

This two week experience is a once in a lifetime opportunity for any scout who thinks or desires to pursue a career in paleontology or the natural sciences or who is fascinated by the continent of Africa.

Eagle Scouts who are qualified and would like to be considered for this wonderful opportunity must complete an online application found here which includes a 250-word essay, no later than 11:59 PM Central Standard Time, March 15, 2017. Finalists will be announced and required to submit a 3 minute YouTube video within a week of announcement expressing reasons to support their selection.

To qualify as the 2017 Eagle Scout Paleoanthropologist, candidates must:

  • Be an Eagle Scout
  • Be 18 years of age by June 1, 2017
  • Major or intend to major in a biological science in college or graduate school
  • Be prepared to blog, speak, write, and be interviewed on behalf of Scouting to report on the trip, what it means to him personally, and how Scouting prepared him for this
  • Either have a current valid passport or obtain one no later than June 1, 2017
  • Submit an essay no more than 250 words on why you are the best person to go on an expedition to Africa as the 2017 Eagle Scout Paleoanthropologist. This must be submitted no later than midnight March 15, 2017
  • Have medical insurance and complete a BSA Medical form.

The person selected to be the 2017 Eagle Scout Paleoanthropologist will be notified by May 1, 2017.

Costs for the selected candidate will be paid by NESA. The Eagle may be responsible for some expenses not to exceed $1000.

Dates for this approximately 14-day trip will be from late June to mid-August.

Click here to apply.

For additional information about the project, visit the Rising Star Expedition websites through the National Geographic site or other related topics.